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Rita Farrell has over 20 years of experience working with child abuse investigations as a forensic interviewer and founding executive director of a child advocacy center. In her role as a forensic interview specialist and trainer for Zero Abuse Project, Rita admits that her role as a forensic interviewer of child abuse victims is her “true passion.”
After graduating from Ball State University with a degree in secondary education, Rita began teaching in secondary and post-secondary classrooms. While raising her two sons in Fishers, IN, Rita held various leadership positions throughout the community. In July 2000, Rita undertook the challenge of opening Chaucie’s Place, a child advocacy center in Hamilton County, IN. The combination of her roles as executive director and forensic interviewer naturally led Rita to become involved with state and national organizations in the field of child abuse.
Rita serves as the Director, ChildFirst® for Zero Abuse Project, managing the national ChildFirst® Forensic Interview Training program. In addition, she manages the development of advanced training courses and programs for forensic interviewers and investigators as well as the ChildFirst® Arkansas state program. She is the co-author of the ChildFirst® Forensic Interview Protocol and has conducted more than 2,500 child interviews.
Rita is a certified law enforcement instructor and still conducts forensic interviews in the field. She has testified in numerous court cases and has authored many peer-reviewed articles specific to child abuse investigations and forensic interviewing of child abuse victims. As a national speaker, Rita continues to champion the cause of child advocacy and forensic interviewing. Rita serves as a board member for the Indiana Coalition of Child Advocacy Centers. She is a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and co-chairperson for the APSAC forensic interviewing committee. Rita serves on numerous councils, task forces, and boards in the areas of child abuse and domestic violence. Rita was presented with the U.S. Attorney General’s award for “Outstanding Service to Victims of Crime” by the U.S. Attorney General of Indiana and is also the recipient of the “Champion for Children” award.